Sons Of Granville
Sons Of Granville


4.5
superb

Review

by Ben USER (14 Reviews)
August 16th, 2016 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Music for the Sake of Music

I feel I must prefix the review with the following: I am incredibly biased. Allow me to explain. A few years back I happened upon a busker at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by the name of Matthew Lennox. Literally hundreds of buskers fill the streets at the Scottish arts festival. In fact I’d passed (and sadly ignored) several a few minutes earlier. What made me stop for Matt when I failed to stop for others was the sheer energy that radiated from the guy. He was wailing at his battered acoustic whilst jumping all over the place, his hands gliding up and down the fret board with his eyes closed and a massive grin plastered on his face, seemingly oblivious of the crowd slowly forming around him. Between songs he’d chat and joke with us, explaining how he traveled the world playing music and that he used what he made busking to fund the trips. I believe he ended his set with an instrumental cover of a Miley Cyrus song, yet he played so ferociously he ended up breaking 2 of his stings halfway through. Nonetheless he made it though to the end on 4 strings and then handed out the broken ones to the crowd as souvenirs. Sadly I was too shy at the time to ask for them (being an introverted 15 year old at the time) but I did leave with a copy of his band’s album, this album. I jammed it and little else for a solid month or so, loving the raw energy and musicality behind it. This is the record that encouraged me to persevere with the guitar and that largely influenced the development of my musical taste.

So yes, I’m a tad biased. However, my bias aside, this is an album I feel many could gain a great deal from. It’s a wonderful example of music for the sake of music, no strings attached. Matt’s guitar comes together with Thomas Beckman’s viola, creating a wonderfully uplifting body of music. Matt’s guitar is the foundation of most of the songs, guiding them and providing the structure which Tom builds upon. He adopts a seemingly flamenco inspired guitar style, though makes it his own with some folky strumming and flourishes that wouldn’t be out of place on a ‘The Tallest Man In The World’ record. Over the top of this Tom’s viola sings and soars with riveting and bright melodies. He uses musical techniques that I can’t quite describe and I’m not sure I’d want to, for it could threaten to take some mystery out of their beauty. The guys play off each other’s strengths, and occasionally Matt takes over the melody briefly like some sort of instrumental tag team. The end result is a collection of cohesive, catchy and memorable soundscapes that can easily stay with the listener for days.

The musicianship on display here is truly inspiring and emotion-fueled, never feeling overly flashy or pretentious. Furthermore, despite producing seriously impressive music the guys don’t take themselves too seriously, sound bites in ‘Couldn’t Let Go’ and ‘Kickin’ It’ often forcing a smile on my face. The record is also surprisingly varied; ‘Couldn’t Let Go’ and ‘Rush of Intensity’ are catchy as hell and bubble with energy and passion, whilst ‘Spring Pt. 2’, ‘Kickin’ It’ and ‘April Song’ slow things down a smidge and conjure images of meadows, streams and blossoming trees in the listener’s mind. Songs like ‘Sons of Granville’ and ‘One’ offer more substantial grooves to tap ones foot to whilst ‘Martin’ slows the pace to a near halt, gifting the listener with a harrowingly beautiful piece of music.

I’d like nothing more than to finish here, hand out a 5 and implore you to give this album the attention it deserves. However, admittedly at times the pacing of the record falters. Sections of ‘Spring Pt. 1’ and ‘One’ can feel a little too much like un-engaging background music and can become a bit stale after multiple listens. The mixing of the record is also questionable in places, the intricacies of Matt’s acoustics being smothered by the (admittedly beautiful) viola work of Tom. Songs like ‘One’ do give the guitar the space it needs to shine, but such moments don’t come often enough. Thankfully the record’s strengths outshine its flaws and the experience it sets out to create trumps these teething errors.

By 2015 (I believe) the band had become a music production company and Matt had parted from it. Yet, thankfully, Matt was still going strong with his touring. I only discovered this when, by sheer luck, I happened to bump into him at the festival again. I managed to shake his hand this time around and I thanked him for sharing his music with me. He seemed shocked but pretty chuffed that I’d heard all his material and proceeded to point me out to a few of his touring buddies. The encounter remains one of my fondest musical memories. Whilst I’m sure this record will likely mean less to you than it does to me, I feel its one that any music lover can grow to appreciate as a pure and unfiltered expression of musicality and emotion. I suppose all that’s left to say is cheers Matt, thanks for everything and I hope to see you at the festival next week.



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user ratings (1)
4.5
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
AsleepInTheBack
August 16th 2016


5871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just want to add a few things. I know this is a pretty personal review, yes I commit the sin of using words like 'I' and 'you', and yes this is also a pretty casual review. Additionally I didn't talk about the actual music for as long as I probably should have, but I didn't want to turn this into a essay that no one would read, so I tried to be concise. I'll certainly understand any criticisms in line with what I just said. Indeed, this was more for my sake rather than to produce a flawless review, but if it convinces any of you to check this then all the better (:

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2016


23925 Comments


hey this is really well written, love the personal narrative. my only criticism is that after reading it i have no idea what these guys sound like! maybe add in some descriptive phrases? idk but love this review either way. pos

AsleepInTheBack
August 16th 2016


5871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers con, appreciate it. and fair point, i'll see what i can do

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2016


23925 Comments


i mean i figured they were indie folk of some sort but maybe dont change the review too much (add in a couple adj/phrases) and instead list some related artists?

AsleepInTheBack
August 16th 2016


5871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Basically added another para, hopefully it does the job haha. And yeah I'll add a few similar ones soon

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2016


2609 Comments


Edit: fixed

Otherwise, great review, Ben! I liked the personal tone, I think it worked out well. Just a few small things in terms of the writing: attempt to signpost each of the paragraphs in a way that's a bit more subtle, rather than stating bluntly that you will be talking about a certain thing (i.e. "I feel I must mention"). Also, some of the language choices here could be a bit more subtle and concise. It's a difficult balance, but it's one I see you mastering within the next few reviews. Excellent work, though, overall an engaging read and you're getting better each review, those are just a few nitpicks. Like I said, can't wait to see you polish further your ability to balance the descriptions with the personal, it's working out well for you so far. Reviewers like Sowing and few others do it rather well I feel, and I can see you writing in a similar vein.

I'm listening to this right now and it's cool so far. I've noticed the mixing problems you mention, but it's nothing too concerning. And the idea of "music for the sake of music" vis-à-vis the description is interesting.

Digging: Pictureplane - Degenerate

AsleepInTheBack
August 17th 2016


5871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers man, thanks for the pointers and grammatical pick ups. I get what you mean about signposting more subtly, but that was a conscious decision on my part to be a bit more blunt and outright to try make the review more off the cuff and personal, was just trying something out and I'm not sure it entirely worked out so thanks for the critique. Wrote this fairly quickly for me so more errors than usual I suppose haha.



Cool man, hope you dig it

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2016


2609 Comments


Yeah, that makes sense, man. I think it works for the most part, so once again, I'm interested to see how your style evolves even further from here. And this is good study music, I like it a fair bit, thanks for the rec!

AsleepInTheBack
August 17th 2016


5871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers man. And awesome, glad you liked it

AsleepInTheBack
August 27th 2016


5871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bumped into the dude at the festival again, got him to sign a album for me which was pretty sweet. Still a super nice guy

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2016


2609 Comments


Edinburgh Fringe Festival sounds absolutely insane.

AsleepInTheBack
August 28th 2016


5871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's pretty fantastic. There aren't many huge names there but it's got some of the most talented unknown musicians I've ever seen. Just met a guy playing Mozart on a wood saw with a bow and a guy on a 5 string bass killing it. Sadly it's my last day here but it's been great.

AsleepInTheBack
August 28th 2016


5871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Met the dude again today, built up the courage to tell him I reviewed his stuff, he was pretty cool about it haha



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